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Final Day To Donate To Salvation Army Tree Of Lights Campaign

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The holiday season ended a month ago, but the Salvation Army's Tree of Lights campaign ended on January 31st.

But as of Tuesday morning, it was still 20% short of its goal.

The Salvation Army had set its sights high this year, hoping donations would reach $6,000,000, but as the campaign moved into the final day, they were still more than $600,000 short.

And that, they say could seriously hurt those the Salvation Army is trying to help.

"It's serious because it's not just money we are talking about, it's people and lives," said Kimberly Beck, the Salvation Army's Regional Social Services Director.

They knew when they started this year's Tree of Lights campaign it was going to be a challenge, because they were looking for $500,000 dollars more than the year before.

But Beck says they had little choice.

"We are in tough economic times and those who would be able to give in the past have not been able to and those who have given in the past have actually become our first time users of services," she said.

A good illustration of why they are asking for more money this year can be found at the Salvation Army's backpack pantry in South St. Louis, which provides food to needy families on Fridays to get them through to Monday.

"We are finding more families wanting to sign up for that every week and our funding actually has just run out for that and we don`t know when we could possibly get more funding for that," said Angie Hartley, who supervises the program for the Salvation Army.

If the agency fails to reach its goal, it will be forced to make difficult choices between what it likes to provide and what it has to provide,  meaning programs like weekly lunches for seniors, open to anyone regardless of need, could be vulnerable.

But going into the final day of the campaign, the Salvation Army was confident the St. Louis area's past generosity will be repeated to help them continue meeting the needs of those they serve.

"I am a believer, I am a die hard optimist and I believe st. Louis in going to come through," said Beck.

Nationally, the Salvation Army exceeded its goal , setting a new Red Kettle record of almost $148,000,000.

All funds raised locally remain in the Midland Division's area of service which includes Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Click here to donate.